Royal Danish Air Force C-130J Conducted Parachute Drops Near Savannah

Savannah – Yesterday, a Royal Danish Air Force C-130J conducted parachute drops in the area of Tybee Island near Savannah, GA. It appears it was part of Exercise Emerald Warrior 2019, a US Special Operations Command exercise that combines Special Operations and Conventional forces to prepare for operations “in a complex and uncertain Irregular Warfare security environment.” While doing some web research on why a Danish C-130 might have been in Savannah, I came upon a gallery of DVIDS images that included the aircraft working with units at Hurlburt Field.

A Royal Danish Air Force C-130J Hercules flies in formation with a U.S. Air Force MC-130 Hercules Combat Talon II from the 15th Special Operations Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Fl., while conducting flight operations for training as part of Exercise Emerald Warrior 19 Jan. 14, 2019. Emerald Warrior provides annual realistic and relevant pre- deployment training encompassing multiple joint operating areas to prepare Special Operations Forces, Conventional Force enablers, Partner Nations and Interagency elements to integrate with and execute full spectrum Special Operations in a complex and uncertain Irregular Warfare security environment using all aspects of live, virtual, and constructive training assets. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Gregory Brook)

Given that it was a federal holiday, I wasn’t expecting to hear much on the radios while I was in Savannah for a doctor’s appointment. I didn’t, but at least Danish C-130J conducting parachute drops made part of what I did hear very interesting. CRUSHER 31 (C-130J, B-536, Esk 721 Royal Danish AF) departed Savannah-Hilton Head Airport yesterday and headed out toward Tybee Island, telling Savannah Approach Control on 120.400 that they would be conducting parachute drops in the Savannah Beach area. Throughout the operation, they made “Jumpers in the Air” with Approach Control as well. I quickly put one of my radios in search mode and found them on 245.750 working DZ to coordinate the drops. After the drops were complete, CRUSHER 31 departed the area cleared to Hurlburt Field, which meshes with the information I came across in my web search.

3rd Combat Aviation Brigade Aircraft List

Savannah – Over the last few months, I’ve been able to identify a few more new 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade Helicopters at Hunter AAF. I still think it’s possible that some of the helicopters identified as 4-3 AVN UH-60Ms could be C/2-3 AVN HH-60Ms, so if anything changes, I’ll post another update. If anyone has additions or corrections, please let me know and I’ll update the list.

ARMY 26458, UH-60L, 92-26458, A/2-3 AVN)
ARMY 26482 (UH-60L, 93-26482, A/2-3 AVN)
ARMY 26587 (UH-60L, 94-26587, A/2-3 AVN)
ARMY 26596 (UH-60L, 95-26596, A/2-3 AVN)
ARMY 26812 (UH-60L, 98-26812, A/2-3 AVN)
ARMY 26830 (UH-60L, 99-26830, A/2-3 AVN)
ARMY 26841 (UH-60L, 99-26841, A/2-3 AVN)
ARMY 27055 (UH-60L, 05-27055, A/2-3 AVN)
ARMY 08171 (CH-47F, 14-08171, B/2-3 AVN)
ARMY 08173 (CH-47F, 14-08173, B/2-3 AVN)
ARMY 08453 (CH-47F, 14-08453, B/2-3 AVN)
ARMY 08454 (CH-47F, 14-08454, B/2-3 AVN)
ARMY 08455 (CH-47F, 14-08455, B/2-3 AVN)
ARMY 08456 (CH-47F, 14-08456, B/2-3 AVN)
ARMY 08457 (CH-47F, 14-08457, B/2-3 AVN)
ARMY 08458 (CH-47F, 14-08458, B/2-3 AVN)
ARMY 08459 (CH-47F, 14-08459, B/2-3 AVN)
ARMY 08460 (CH-47F, 14-08460, B/2-3 AVN)
ARMY 08461 (CH-47F, 14-08461, B/2-3 AVN)
ARMY 20310 (HH-60M, ??-20310, C-2/3 AVN)
ARMY 20353 (HH-60M, ??-20353, C/2-3 AVN)
ARMY 20376 (HH-60M, ??-20376, C/2-3 AVN)
ARMY 20402 (HH-60M, 11-20402, C/2-3 AVN)
ARMY 20498 (HH-60M, 11-20498, C/2-3 AVN)
ARMY 20505 (HH-60M, 12-20505, C/2-3 AVN)
ARMY 20506 (HH-60M, 12-20506, C/2-3 AVN)
ARMY 20615 (HH-60M, 13-20615, C/2-3 AVN)
ARMY 20616 (HH-60M, 13-20616, C/2-3 AVN)

ARMY 25326 (AH-64D, 02-05326, 3-17 CAV)
ARMY 35389 (AH-64D, 03-05389, 3-17 CAV)
ARMY 35395 (AH-64D, 03-05395, 3-17 CAV)
ARMY 35403 (AH-64D, 03-05403, 3-17 CAV)
ARMY 75518 (AH-64D, 07-05518, 3-17 CAV)
ARMY 77002 (AH-64D, 07-07002, 3-17 CAV)
ARMY 77045 (AH-64D, 07-07045, 3-17 CAV)
ARMY 77046 (AH-64D, 07-07046, 3-17 CAV)
ARMY 87048 (AH-64D, 08-07048, 3-17 CAV)
ARMY 87049 (AH-64D, 08-07049, 3-17 CAV)
ARMY 95585 (AH-64D, 09-05585, 3-17 CAV)
ARMY 95591 (AH-64D, 09-05591, 3-17 CAV)
ARMY 95592 (AH-64D, 09-05592, 3-17 CAV)
ARMY 95593 (AH-64D, 09-05593, 3-17 CAV)
ARMY 95597 (AH-64D, 09-05597, 3-17 CAV)
ARMY 95602 (AH-64D, 09-05602, 3-17 CAV)
ARMY 95604 (AH-64D, 09-05604, 3-17 CAV)

ARMY 20354 (UH-60M, 11-20354, 4-3 AVN)
ARMY 20355 (UH-60M, 11-20355, 4-3 AVN)
ARMY 20356 (UH-60M, 11-20356, 4-3 AVN)
ARMY 20357 (UH-60M, 11-20357, 4-3 AVN)
ARMY 20358 (UH-60M, 11-20358, 4-3 AVN)
ARMY 20360 (UH-60M, 11-20360, 4-3 AVN)
ARMY 20362 (UH-60M, 11-20362, 4-3 AVN)
ARMY 20364 (UH-60M, 11-20364, 4-3 AVN)
ARMY 20365 (UH-60M, 11-20365, 4-3 AVN)
ARMY 20366 (UH-60M, 11-20366, 4-3 AVN)
ARMY 20369 (UH-60M, 11-20369, 4-3 AVN)
ARMY 20370 (UH-60M, 11-20370, 4-3 AVN)
ARMY 20374 (UH-60M, 11-20374, 4-3 AVN)
ARMY 20386 (UH-60M, 11-20386, 4-3 AVN)
ARMY 20387 (UH-60M, 11-20387, 4-3 AVN)
ARMY 20388 (UH-60M, 11-20388, 4-3 AVN)
ARMY 20389 (UH-60M, 11-20387, 4-3 AVN)
ARMY 20392 (UH-60M, 11-20392, 4-3 AVN)
ARMY 20395 (UH-60M, 11-20395, 4-3 AVN)
ARMY 20396 (UH-60M, 11-20396, 4-3 AVN)
ARMY 20397 (UH-60M, 11-20397, 4-3 AVN)
ARMY 20404 (UH-60M, 11-20404, 4-3 AVN)
ARMY 20409 (UH-60M, 11-20409, 4-3 AVN)
ARMY 20416 (UH-60M, 11-20416, 4-3 AVN)
ARMY 20422 (UH-60M, 11-20422, 4-3 AVN)
ARMY 20428 (UH-60M, 11-20428, 4-3 AVN)
ARMY 20434 (UH-60M, 11-20434, 4-3 AVN)
ARMY 20450 (UH-60M, 12-20450, 4-3 AVN)
ARMY 20455 (UH-60M, 12-20455, 4-3 AVN)
ARMY 20457 (UH-60M, 12-20457, 4-3 AVN)
ARMY 20458 (UH-60M, 12-20458, 4-3 AVN)
ARMY 20460 (UH-60M, 12-20460, 4-3 AVN)
ARMY 20461 (UH-60M, 12-20461, 4-3 AVN)

MDTC Underway at MCAS Beaufort

Savannah – Yesterday morning’s monitoring indicated that there’s MDTC (Marine Division Tactics Course) underway at MCAS Beaufort. An MDTC usually takes place in January and this year seems to be no different. Flights of MAG-31 F/A-18s using the callsigns LATCH and SALEM (callsigns traditionally used by MDTC flights at MCAS Beaufort) and VMFAT-501 F-5Ns using the callsign VIPER were working in offshore SUAs yesterday morning. I didn’t hear SALEMs, LATCHes, or SNIPERs on Friday, so I’m guessing the MDTC flying started yesterday and will likely continue through the rest of the month.

If you’re interested in listening to the activity, here’s what I heard in use yesterday morning:

MCAS Beaufort Frequencies
292.125 – Beaufort App/Dep
269.125 – Beaufort App/Dep

SEALORD Frequencies
284.500 – SEALORD North Primary
313.700 – SEALORD North Secondary
349.800 – W-137 Discrete
376.900 – W-137 Discrete
385.300 – W-137 Discrete
318.600 – SEALORD Discrete

MAG-31/VMFT-401 Frequencies
283.400 – VMFA-115 Base; LATCH/SALEM flights for Base traffic
304.200 – MAG-31; LATCH/SALEM flights for Base traffic
310.200 – VMFA(AW)-553 Base; LATCH/SALEM flight Base traffic
228.300 – MDTC Air-to-Air (normally VMFA-224 Tac 1)
264.925 – MDTC Air-to-Air (normally VMFT-401 Tac)
274.500 – MDTC Air-to-Air (normally VMFA-115 Tac 3)
336.225 – MDTC Air-to-Air (normally VMFA-115 Tac 3
376.425 – MDTC Air-to-Air (normally VMFA-251 Tac 3)
348.825 – VMFT-401 Air-to-Air (normally VMFA-533 Tac 3)

A Hidden Gem – the South Carolina Military Museum in Columbia, SC

The second visit on third and last day of my South Carolina/North Carolina road trip was the South Carolina Military Museum in Columbia, SC. Located in the shadow of the Universtiy of South Carolina’s Williams-Brice Stadium, it’s operated by the South Carolina National Guard and located in the Guard’s compound on National Guard Rd off of Bluff Rd. It isn’t the easiest thing to find and you have to pass through a guard post to get back to it, but it is well worth the visit for any History or Military History buff.

The South Carolina Military Museum presents the Military History of South Carolina primarily from the National Guard perspective, from the Spanish explorers in South Carolina through today. Their collection and equipment on loan for display includes uniforms, weapons, equipment, and vehicles from the various wars from both sides of the conflicts. They have a number of beautifully restored military vehicles from both the United States and World War II Germany on display in the museum. There is also a wonderfully restored Bell H-13B, 48-0796, which is the first H-13B airframe, serial number 101 from 1948. Outside of the museum is a good collection of heavier armored vehicles that wouldn’t fit inside the museum and there is an OH-58 and UH-1 beside the museum. The museum also contains an excellent display on the South Carolina Air National Guard, detailing the aircraft they have flown since they were stood up in 1947. The ANG display also tells about some of the personnel that have flown in the SC ANG and has an ejection seat from an F-104.

The South Carolina Military Museum is indeed a hidden gem and is well worth finding. They have a great collection and friendly veteran volunteers full of interesting stories and information. There’s no admission since it’s a government museum, but there is a collection box you should drop a donation in; operating a museum like this isn’t inexpensive and their government budget doesn’t cover everything.

A Visit to Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens in Columbia, SC

The first stop on the third and final day of my South Carolina/North Carolina road trip was the Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens in Columbia, SC. I’d been to Riverbanks before, but it was years ago and found it to be much improved than I remembered. They have a large and varied collection of animals and birds and they all appear well taken care of. Many of the exhibits are large and open for the overall space available for the zoo. Unfortunately, given that temperatures for the day started in the low 30s, some of the animals more accustomed to warmer climates weren’t out in their exhibits. The Grizzly Bears weren’t out in their exhibit either, but I’m not sure why. I particularly enjoyed the Kangaroo exhibit, which you’re able to walk through on a path with nothing between you and the Kangaroos and Wallabies.